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US visas: Attorney Gilbert Ferrer's tips

April 27, 2006

Are you planning to migrate to the US?

Or head there temporarily for better job prospects?

What are your chances of securing a work visa or permanent citizenship?

What laws do you need to be aware of?

US attorney Gilbert Ferrer, who was in Mumbai to hold seminars on immigration law at the Indo-American Society, Mumbai, chatted with Get Ahead readers on April 25 and answered their US immigration/ visa-related queries.

Ferrer specialises in immigration law and is currently based in New York and western Massachusetts. He is a member of the New York State Bar, admitted to the US district courts for the southern and eastern districts of New York, The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, New York State, New York City and American Bar Associations. He has assisted many in getting permanent residency and H-1B, L-1, work visas, etc. He has represented major employers, including Fortune 500 companies, as well as individuals with family petitions and political asylum applicants.

For those of you who missed the chat, here is the transcript:

Part II: US visas -- get to know the rules

Gilbert Ferrer says,
 Hi everyone. I am here to take your questions.

balam asked, 
Hi there. If I am on a work permit in a country and have to get my H1B stamping in my passport, will it be possible to get the stamping from the country I am presently working in or do I have to get to India and to the local consualte to do that? Thanks.

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
If you are a resident in a country other than your home country, you can get your visa through the consulate there. You do not have to go back to India.

yatish asked, 
I have an L1B Visa which will expire on May 12 2006. I was working in US for last 8 months but came back to India due to the sad demise of my father. What is the latest date by which I can enter into US in this situation? Do I need any documents saying that my company will file an extension once I reach US ?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
They should have had the extension on file for you by now. You can probably enter the US within the next week or so without a problem. However, you should have at least a letter from your employer saying that your petition is being filed promptly.

TheOne asked, 
I am working in a company in Saudi Arabia as a software programmer. Will there be any problem or issues if I file for H1B Visa when I return to India?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
No problem.

Ramachandran asked, 
I would like to apply for the US immigration visa (Green Card). Do I need to have a job offer in the first place ? Also do I need a driving licence for going to US. Thanks.

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Yes, for employment-based immigration or a US citizen relative. No, you do not need a driver's license to go to the US.

Mahender asked, 
How long does it takes for processing a H1B visa at the embassy after applying with I797 Document?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
After applying at the consulate a couple of days. At some consulates the same day.

VishalArya asked, 
Sir, usually when does the H1B cap close.

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
The last couple of years it has closed very early. Last year it closed on the first day of the period. This coming year, it may close even before that, if there is no increase in the quota.

Satish asked, 
Hello Sir, I am an Indian passport holder but permenant resident of Singapore. If I apply for H1B visa then can I get it from the Singapore quota ?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
No, the Singapore quota is only for Singapore nationals. Permanent residents are not considered nationals of a given country.

rajan asked, 
Hi, I have 6+ yrs of exp in IT. I am a science graduate and completed one year honors diploma from NIIT & 6 months PG diploma from CDAC in Computers. I am pursuing my master in information technology which will be completed in July '06. With these qualification, can I apply for H-1B?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Yes, but you have to find a US employer. Someone should be interested in your qualifications.

kish asked, 
My mother plans to visit the US to attend my cousin's wedding. I have quite a few relatives (all green card holders) in the US who can sponsor her. On what basis should I choose a relative to sponsor her? i.e. does education / financial status / kind of job held by sponsor affect the chances of getting a visa?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Clearly your relative should have sufficient assets to support her should the need arise. More importantly however is proof that she will return to India after the wedding.

veenu asked, 
I am doing Msc IT and I have one year of experience in a BPO. And I have my relatives in USA since 1979. How can i go about applying for immigration

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
One way is to find a sponsoring employer who will petition for you. The US relatives will not help in this process unless they are citizens and are a close relative.

Srinivas asked, 
If my present company sponsors my H-1B and later if I shift my company, then how difficult is it to change the employer's name?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
As long as the new employer is willing to sponsor the H-1B it is easy. File the petition before you move to the new employer.

important asked, 
Can H-1B be transfered to another company even if one has not visited US on that visa? If yes, then can the first company cancel my H-1B Visa?

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Well no. If you change offered employment before you utilise the H-1B visa, it is no longer valid. The new employer has to petition for H-1B status for you.

Jagla asked, 
Can anyone know the current status of H-1 Visa cap at any given point of time. ie how many has been filed and how many remains,

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Periodically CIS announces quota use. Otherwise no.

pbreddy asked, I
am F-1 visa holder for fall sem from aug 2006. Am presently employed and my employer would like to process for my H-1B. Will there be any problem with my present F-1 visa

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
You can only be on one status at a time. When the H-1B becomes effective, you cease being F-1. Until then there is no problem staying in the F-1 status.

vbhimarasetty asked, 
Hi Gilbert, this is Vikram here. I applied for student visa in 2001, unfortunately I was denied a visa. I tried to drop box for a couple of times after this rejection but was still denied. In 2002 I went to UK and completed my master's there. I worked till last year in UK and came back to India. I'm working for an MNC now and got an offer to apply for H-1B visa. My client required my services badly since very few are working in this area. Does my previous record of visa attempts effect my present application? thank you for any suggestions. Best wishes, Vikram. B

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Hi Vikram. Nice to hear from you. It is something that they would consider when you apply for an H-1B. However, the H-1B is a totally different visa with different standards. So, while I can only speak generally, it will probably not affect the H-1B.

ramakrishnaganga asked, 
Hi Gilbert I attended for my H1B visa interview on November 2 2005 at the Madras consulate.The visa officer told me they need adminstrative process on my completed six months i taken up my interview.every time when i call consulate people they tell my application is still in progress. i think us people are time bound people,they dont waste time.they will reply back immediately but till date i taken my interview i did not get any response from consulate completed 180 days.

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
Hi there, if it is in administrative proceedings the consulate is conducting an investigation. It may be into the employer's bonafides or your qualifications. It could take close to a year.

VenkatRaman asked, 
Hi, I am basically a non-technical degree holder but presently working on a technical profile on information technology domain. I am applying for H-1 now. To prove my technical skills I have completed lots of Microsoft and Cisco certification. Can you please let me know my chances of getting an H-1 visa? I have 6 years of relevant experience

Gilbert Ferrer answers, 
H-1B requires a bachelor's degree in a specialised area. If your degree does not relate you have to show sufficient work experience to equal a bachelor's degree in a relevant area. Standard US Citizenship and Immigration Services equivalency is four years of experience for every year of a degree.

Part II: US visas -- get to know the rules



~ Check your visa status on your mobile phone!

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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 5

Sub: H1B

Hello Sir, I went first interview to stamp for H1B in Singapore, US Embassy. They are asking some of the documents like client details , ...

Posted by Muthu

Sub: cancellation of My B1 B2 VISA for unknown reasons

Sir, I am businesmen of 47 years from Last 22 Years I had USA B1 B2 VISA 10 Years VISA , I have visited six ...

Posted by ANIL SHAH

Sub: US Visa

4 u Dr. Vyas to know more abt. US Vias

Posted by Dr. Navin vyas


Dear Editor, I read your article and am quite surprised to see a lawyer quoting such irresponsible statement. Please note his comments on first question. ...

Posted by Saurabh Sharma

Sub: Green Card for Singapore Citizens

I am a Singapore citizen but born in India, If I want to apply for Green card after getting my H1B1, I will be treated ...

Posted by Srini


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